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El DeBarge Returns for "Second Chance"

by Kenney Dennard

el debarge cover

After over 15 years, through which El DeBarge experienced turbulent times. After experiencing addiction to hard drugs, incarceration and depression after the death of his brother Bobby, former lead singer of the group Switch, El has returned to the music scene with a hot new album.

The album features the work of legendary producers, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and Babyface alongside new hit makers such as Mike City and Michael Angelo. DeBarge marked his return on the BET Awards a few weeks ago. He seemed to be just getting warmed up with that standing room only crowd and has since performed at the Soul Train Awards and numerous other venues across the country.

"Making this album, I felt like I was seeing a flower or feeling the sun shine for the first time," says El. "I felt like a brand new artist, like I just came to Hollywood from Grand Rapids, Michigan and I'm looking for a record contract-and I'm just as hungry as I was when I started out."

el debarge and kenney dennard

Kenney Dennard and El DeBarge at Album Signing

El emerged onto the scene in the early eighties with four of his siblings in the family group, DeBarge, who was signed to Motown. That enjoyed huge hits those days such as, "I Like It," "Time Will Reveal," "All This Love," "In A Special Way," "A Dream," and "Rhythm of the Night."

El enjoyed solo hits with, "Who's Johnny," and "Someone," before joining Quincy Jones with Al B. Sure, Barry White and James Ingram for the smash hit, "Secret Garden," in 1991. He's last solo release was 1994's, "Heart, Mind and Soul."

Though DeBarge has been absent from the music scene, his sound and legacy never completely disappeared. Such stars as The Notorious B.I.G., 2 Pac, Blackstreet, Ashanti, Mariah Carey and Mary J Blige have covered or sampled his hits.

The new album, "Second Chance," hit stores in late November and has two songs, "Lay With You," featuring Faith Evans and "Close to You," currently in heavy rotation on the radio.

I feel strength, having had the experiences I've had," El states. I have confidence. I know what I've gone through and that I've overcome it, it didn't overcome me. Now I'm stronger, I've embraced it, and I'm going all the way."


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